Better of just leaving it stock and doing a 2.3T swap or 5.0 conversion.
This is the truth. The 2.3L N/A is a Pinto motor built for fuel economy, get rid of it for either a turbo 2.3L (usually referred to as 2.3T) or a 5.0L. Swapping to either motor involves time, money, and above all else you need to RESEARCH what you are doing. The major difference between these motors is what you are looking for in your specific application. The 5.0 will be cheap but need more extras to make it work, the 2.3T motor may be more expensive to purchase but is more of a plug-and-play application. Stock-for-stock the 2.3T will likely yield similar, if not better, performance numbers compared to the 5.0.
Being a V8 going into a 4-banger, you will need to do a little more front suspension and fuel system modifications to accommodate it. You will need to do a k-member swap to hold the 302; you may also find yourself wanting to use heavier springs and shocks depending on the condition of what you have now. The advantage to going this way is that the 5.0 is extremely popular, used parts are cheap and plentiful, and there is a wide selection of performance parts on the aftermarket. A potential benefit here would running a carburetor, depending on how good you are with fuel injection.
If you are looking to roast rear tires, rumble at stop lights, and build a naturally aspirated motor then this would be my recommendation. Other items that will most likely have to be examined and/or replaced include the rear differential, rear axles, the transmission, and wider wheels/tires depending on torque output. Information on swapping the motor and building it is quite abundant, finding a combination of performance parts to meet your desired power output is a google search away.
Not as common in the aftermarket or to find parts for, but don't think it can't be fast (and performance prices are not far from the 5.0). The 2.3T is a strong initial starting point for a performance build, even by modern standards. For swapping in a stock motor, you won't need to do too much to the car itself initially to accept the motor, probably just fuel system upgrades and other miscellaneous items. Want more power? Turn up the boost. This motor is capable of HUGE power for a 4-cylinder: John Huber's Mustang, the SVO, the Thunderbird S/C, the RS200 rally car (BEAST!!!!!), and even swapped Rangers are all good examples of what it can do. The aftermarket is considerably smaller, but the stuff available is generally very good quality.
My personal pick:
For a dedicated street or street/strip build, I'm 2.3T all the way.